FOR many people, when visiting New Clark City, or known as the entertainment City of Angeles, getting a massage is part of the itinerary.
While the tourist-joes throng the bustling city for its watering holes and massage centres, Malaysian athletes do enjoy a massage once in a while.
But theirs is a different kind of rubbing, bending of limbs and pressing of sore points.
Meet the many physiotherapists who have the unenviable job of making sure Malaysian athletes are at their best before and after they try for gold or a record breaking feat.
I met one dedicated physio at the dance venue, where breakdancer Sam Jee Lek won gold with his body breaking antics.
She was in a walk-way leading to the arena, busy massaging dance athlete Kimberly Cheer Ching Tan on a flatbed, which had a hole for the latter to put her face in.
Unassuming and yet professional-like, the petite physio kept working without any bother about the fans, officials, and volunteers walking past her to watch the dance routines.
A dance routine was going on with romantic music blaring from a loudspeaker. All she had to do was look over her shoulder and she can watch the dancers in action.
But the physio was in full concentration in massaging Kimberly, and I believe she was oblivious to the cheering crowd, the captivating dancers or the music around her.
For she only had eyes for Kimberly, massaging her neck, her legs, hands and every other part to relax the dance athlete’s muscles.
Kimberly had just finished her dance routine, and needed a massage badly for her aching body.
When the physio had ended her tiring job, we had an eye-opening chat.
On a busy day, she can massage up to 12 athletes.
Her work starts when they end their routines, and she knows every inch of an athlete that she has laid her hands on.
But being a team-player, she asked that her name not be printed on this column as she represents the army of physios working tirelessly in Manila, Clark and Subic as well as other pockets of venues in the Philippines.
They all deserve to feature in this column, not her alone, she said.
I turned around briefly to the dance floor when a romantic song started playing and a lovely couple were on the dance floor trying to impress the judges.
When I looked back, the massage bench was empty — the physio and Kimberly had disappeared into the crowd.
And disappeared too are the aches and tiredness in Kimberly’s body.